Tips to flatter your figure and help you feel more confident and body positive
Do You Have A Pear-Shaped Body?
A rose by any other name is still a pear-shaped body. It goes by many other names including A shape, triangle, spoon, bootylicious, and a variety of other names but it essentially means you’ve got a gloriously curvy lower half and narrower shoulders.
As the second most common female body shape, just over 20 percent of women have this figure.
This article and the video below are part of the Stunning Style Know Your Body Shape Series! Join us live this week (March 29th-April 2nd) as we explore a different body shape each day at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page (HERE) or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.
Defining Proportions of a Pear-Shaped Body
As a pear-shaped woman, your defining proportion is that your shoulders are narrower than your hips. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have narrow shoulders, although many of you do, but they are NARROWER than your hips. This can be a subtle difference, or one that’s more dramatic. Very slender women may notice a smaller distinction, and it can be more difficult to identify or you can have an extremely narrow torso and very full hips.
The stereotypical version of a pear-shaped body is a woman with very narrow shoulders, a slim torso, small bust, enviably narrow waist, and a full, curvy, rounded bottom, hips and thighs. Not all pear-shaped women fit perfectly into this mold, and, just as with other body shapes, there are as many variations of pears as there are variations of shoes.
Despite the stereotype, pears can be busty, have a straight waist, a smaller bottom, and broad shoulders, but the key measurement is that the shoulders are narrower than the hips.
Other Possible Characteristics
You are blessed with curvy, shapely thighs, hips, and bottom and you can have shapely calves as well. Your thighs often come to a point at the widest part
You tend to have slender arms compared to your legs, and a well-defined, narrow waist. While your waist is usually narrower than your hips, that can change with weight gain and age. Your shoulders may be sloped or straight. Your hip measurement is usually larger than your bust measurement, but pears can be busty (shoulder to hip measurement is more important than bust, so focus on that). Your shoulder to hip measurement is most important when determining your proportions.
Your musculature tends to be naturally softer. You can get toned, defined muscles, but it takes more effort than other body shapes. One of my favorite workouts is The 30-Day Shred, not only because it’s fast and effective, but one of Jillian’s workout partners is a very toned, very fit, pear-shaped woman named Anita.
Most fitness models and before and after fitness examples are either rectangle or inverted triangle-shaped women. And as we talked about last week in loving your body now, understanding what your body shape is and what it can look like is so freeing. It was so refreshing to see a fit, healthy woman with my body shape.
Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, is another example of a strong, powerful pear-shaped woman.
A pear-shaped woman gains weight from the waist down first, including lower abdomen, hips, seat, thighs and calves, and your proportions become even more obvious. The last place you gain is from the waist up. With weight gain you may go up a pant size or two and not at all in your top.
You tend to wear a smaller clothing size up top and a larger size on bottom, or at least you probably should for best fit. Your biggest shopping challenge is finding pants that fit your curvy bottom without leaving a gap in the waistband. My new masterclass, It’s Not You, It’s the Pants! Four Tips to Find the Perfect Pants so You Never Have a Muffin Top Again, we talk about how to get pants that fit you right. It’s free, and you can sign up with the link above.
For many pear-shaped women, their primary complaint is a proportionally larger bottom, hips and thighs, but they are really your best assets!
The typical pear shape is lauded for having a very narrow waist, but that’s not true across the board. If you have a short torso, that extreme waist taper isn’t possible, and you may have a very straight waist. But, because of the proportions from torso to hips, you will still look like you have some waist.
Beware of body shape calculators that don’t factor in your shoulders. According to the ones I’ve tried, I’m a rectangle because of my hip to waist ratio, but I’m definitely a pear. Rectangles have straight hips and legs, and mine are absolutely not straight. If I followed the straight body type recommendations I would constantly be wondering what’s wrong with me because the clothes that are so fantastic on them will not fit me properly.
The second myth is that all pear-shaped women have a small bust. While that is the most common version, your bust size can vary from very small to very full.
Pear Vs Hourglass
You lean towards an hourglass shape if you’re busty. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Oprah have all been mistakenly identified as hourglass figures because they are busty, but their shoulders are narrower than their hips. An hourglass-shaped woman will equal shoulder and hip measurements. Not only that, but hourglasses don’t have the full, rounded, curvy rear a pear does. Their hips mimic yours from the front view, but from the side and rear view, their bottoms are flatter than a pear-shaped woman’s bottom.
Pear Vs Apple
You lean towards an apple shape if you gain weight in your tummy, especially after childbirth and menopause. Melissa McCarthy is actually a pear-shaped woman, but when she was at her peak weight, her body shape resembled more of an apple body shape. Menopause, childbirth, weight gain, and other factors can add to your midsection, but a true apple will have narrower hips than shoulders and her body will make a V shape in the back. She also will have slender legs, even when she gains weight, and a flat bottom.
Pear Vs Rectangle
You lean toward a rectangle shape if your waist is straighter and not very defined, which is much more likely if you have a short torso, and/or your waist thickens after childbirth and menopause/hormonal shifts. A pear-shaped woman can also lean toward a rectangle shape if the difference between her hips and shoulders isn’t as dramatic, but her thighs will still tell the story.
A true rectangle will have straight thighs, rather than your curvy thighs, and a flatter bottom.
Famous Pear-Shaped Bodies
Two of the most notable pear-shaped bodies include Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé. Both of these women have narrow shoulders, a defined waist and curvy hips, and they were the first to embrace their curves in an industry that wanted to cover them up.
Other classic pears include Michelle Obama, Kate Winslet, Claire Danes, Kiera Knightly, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Linda Carter, and Jennifer Anniston.
How to Dress a Pear-Shaped Body
Highlight and Accentuate Your Best Assets
Most body shape courses and articles focus on hiding or covering parts of your body, which adds to the shame and media lie that we all need to achieve an impossible ideal. Your pear-shaped body is perfect, it’s beautiful, and we don’t want to cover anything up. Instead, we are going to direct the spotlight to accentuate and highlight specific parts of our bodies.
Think of a stage production. The lighting crew shines spotlights on certain parts of the stage to draw your attention to the place they want you to look. It could be because they want to direct our eyes to where the most important action is, to distract us from something like a set change, or because they are trying to achieve an effect like telling us we are seeing a memory, a weather change, or magic.
We can do the same thing with outfits, spotlighting the parts where we want to focus their attention, and use that to make them see what we want them to see. When you work with, not against, your naturally fabulous features it’s so freeing. I want you to fall in love with your body because it’s amazing!
Your Spotlight Goal
Your hips, thighs, and seat are like your bubbly, fun, giggly, gorgeous, attention-stealing friend or sister. Even when she isn’t trying, she steals the spotlight and makes you feel like a wallflower.
Your lower half is fabulous in every sense of the word, and it doesn’t need any help in getting attention, but your upper half needs the upper hand. It’s a little quieter, more subtle, and elegant when people can see past your curvy half long enough to pay attention to it.
Not to mention your pants are the largest amount of real estate in your outfit, by double! So basically your bottom half has everything going for it already, even in the plainest pants. Don’t help your curvy lower half steal the spotlight from your equally lovely, but not always as noticeable, upper half by giving it a microphone and theme music too.
The goal of a pear-shaped woman is always to shine the spotlight on your torso from the waist up. You want to bring the eye up to your gorgeous face and out to your shoulders and visually widen them. You can do this with lighter colors, jewelry, pattern, and other details that will act as your spotlight directing attention where you want it. You are not trying to hide your fabulously curvy bottom, we are trying to balance it with your narrow top.
If you think about making your outfit lighter and most interesting from head to waist, and darker and less interesting below the waist, that’s a great way to work out where to put color and details such as pockets, frills, flounces, pattern, sheen, etc.
The Biggest Outfit Mistakes a Pear Makes
In an effort to cover up or hide their glorious curves, many pear-shaped women wear oversized tops that are too long. They think if they cover their hips, seat, and thighs in a top that could double as a tent, no one will see. First of all, nothing needs to be covered or hidden. Second of all, it’s stealing the spotlight from your upper half even more. This is a lose/lose situation where none of your fabulousness gets to shine.
Instead of trying to put a gag your giggly, gorgeous, fun lower half, let it shine on its own, and give your upper half the microphone so every part of your amazing body gets to shine.
Whatever word you prefer to use to refer to your pear-shaped body, learning to dress it so you highlight your best assets will give you the confidence to finally embrace your beautiful shape.
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